From the wilds of the Scottish Highlands to the mountains of Wales, lakes of Cumbria and hills of the Peak District, there's a hiking trail for all seasons and abilities in the UK.
Starting in Scotland
England is famous for its countryside and National Parks, which vary dramatically in landscape. The Scottish Highlands, on the other hand, are some of the most remote and windswept places in the UK.
One of the greatest trails to hike here is the West Highland Way, which runs 154km, skirting the shores of eerie Loch Lomond before travelling on through lowland moors and high mountain passes, all the way to the sea. The scenery shifts so much it makes it a fascinating place for wildlife lovers and birdwatchers.
Making your way into England
The Lake District on the border of Scotland and England has long captivated visitors. This is Beatrix Potter land, with sweeping moors, mountains, broad lakes and woodland to enjoy. There are 3500km of trails to explore, and because the main attraction here is the countryside, it’'s carefully maintained. Head to the Lake District Visitor Centre in Brockhole and pick up free maps highlighting walking trails for all abilities, from toddlers upwards. There are many guided walks too, with local experts leading the way and giving an insight into local history and wildlife.
If you’re planning a longer walking adventure, make sure you pack waterproof jackets, hats and gloves and wear good boots. Even in summer the weather is known to turn quickly, and downpours are common.
A touch of Wales
Situated in Wales, Snowdonia offers some of the most challenging hiking trails you’ll find in the UK, as well as some of the most stunning scenery. Snowdonia National Park covers over a thousand square kilometres and boasts the highest mountain in Wales: Snowdon. With ancient villages nestled in the foothills and centuries of culture and history to explore, the region is a hiker's dream.
Tackling the Peaks
Test yourself to the max by signing up for the Three Peaks Challenge. It's a race that requires participants to climb the three highest peaks in the UK – Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in Scotland – one after the other.
The Peak District stretches across Northern England, covering several counties including Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester and Yorkshire. The scenery ranges from meadows and sheep pastures to dense woodland and isolated moorland. Public footpaths criss-cross the whole area, offering over 2000km of walking trails.
The Pennine Way is perhaps the most famous of these, popular with horse riders, hikers and mountain bikers. However, there are plenty of shorter routes that follow old railway sidings, one of which is the walk from Millers Dale Station.The National Trust, Ramblers' Association and National Parks all have plenty of information on their websites about hiking trails for all ages and abilities. So if you want really want to explore the UK and get a taste of its beautiful scenery then get walking!